The innovative “Medical Language Translation App,” known as “Jambo Care,” has recently emerged as the overall winner of the fourth season of the Game of Learners (GOL) competition. Developed by Team Ruby, a group of four university students, this groundbreaking app translates local dialects into English or Kiswahili, enabling doctors to diagnose patients’ symptoms remotely with ease. Outperforming 16 other teams from universities across Africa, Team Ruby’s win was announced on Friday.
The fourth season of GOL aimed to tackle Africa’s health challenges by developing technological solutions. Over 80 students from 11 African countries participated, with an equal balance of men and women. Microsoft African Development Centre (ADC) joined forces with Population Services International (PSI) and AMREF Health Africa in a five-week hackathon to design and build technology solutions that make primary healthcare more accessible to people.
African healthcare systems face numerous challenges, including inadequate health infrastructure, a shortage of healthcare personnel, limited access to essential medicines, low health literacy, and poor health-seeking behavior. These issues make it difficult for individuals and communities to receive high-quality care. The increasing availability of affordable digital technology offers an opportunity to address these challenges.
Team Ruby captain Lucy Alphonce spoke about their innovative app, stating that the Medical Language Translation App aims to bridge the communication gap between healthcare providers and patients who do not share a common language, ensuring effective healthcare delivery.
This season of GOL focused on how advances in digital technology can enhance consumers’ access to health information, products, and services. Throughout the season, the three partners provided participants with tailored training on health system challenges, digital health development principles, and utilizing insights to advance user-centered designs. Topics such as customer acquisition for digital health solutions and health financing were also addressed. Participants formed five groups and had five weeks to develop solutions incorporating the latest advancements in digital health technology, including Artificial Intelligence, Telemedicine, and Chatbot solutions.
Ruth Ferland, the Regional Head of Student & Community Engagements at Microsoft ADC, spoke at the Season Finale, stating that this year’s competition encouraged participants to dive into the healthcare sector, identify unique challenges, and design tech-based solutions. Ferland expressed her hope that the competition would foster creative solutions to long-standing healthcare challenges while helping participants learn more about technology and its potential for good.
As a follow-up, PSI will offer internship opportunities to some students to further their knowledge in digital health, while AMREF Health will provide 3-months of technical support to the top two teams to advance their innovations.
Ferland also urged students planning to take their projects further to resubmit them in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a premier global student technology competition that allows students to develop inspiring, leading-edge technology solutions in one of four competition categories—Earth, Education, Health, and Lifestyle.
Wycliffe Waweru, PSI’s Deputy Director of Digital Health & Monitoring, shared two opportunities for advancing these student innovations. First, they will explore partnerships with innovation hubs that can host some of the developed solutions and bring them to market. Second, PSI will offer internships for individuals interested in pursuing a career in digital health, allowing them to work with their teams and gain practical, hands-on experience with other digital health solutions.